Save Lake Almanor
About Us

Our Mission:
To educate citizens, elected officials and non-governmental organizations about issues concerning PG&E's operation of Lake Almanor and Butt Valley Reservoir that could have adverse effects on environmental, cultural and recreational resources.
 An overview

  • Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) is in the process of relicensing its hydroelectric facilities on the North Fork of the Feather River (NFFR)
    • Officially known as "FERC Project 2105
  • The California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) is expected to mandate that PG&E selectively withdraw large amounts of the coldest water from Lake Almanor and send it downstream to the "Rock Creek-Cresta Reach" as a condition of the new license.
    • Why? benefit trout in those downstream waters, 40 miles away
  • Extensive analysis shows that the cold water export plan is flawed:
    • Only about a 1 degree C. temperature reduction downstream
    • Scheme only works some years (doesn't help during dry years)
    • Huge initial cost to implement.  Cost would be borne by PG&E customers, not by the company or the state
  • Worst of all, artificial cold water removal will cause major upstream ecological damage, where it will:
    • Severely damage the trophy trout fishery at Butt Lake
    • Greatly reduce the cold water pool and associated fishery  at Lake Almanor
    • Increase upstream lake temperatures, potentially leading to algae blooms
    • Adversely impact upstream water quality
  • Thus far, the SWRCB has ignored some critical factors:
    • Lack of substantiating evidence that downstream NFFR waters were ever colder in the summer than they are now
    • Very unfavorable cost-benefit comparisons
    • Lack of watershed-wide environmental impact analysis
    • Serious economic impact on upstream areas that depend on tourism
  • SWRCB initiated an Environmental Impact review (EIR) in September of 2005
    • Analysis being performed by North State Resources in Redding, under contract with PG&E (see their website at
    • Began with several alternative ways of reducing downstream water temperature
    • Draft EIR was to be available for public review in spring of 2006
    • Public input to the EIR process included a request that the basic downstream water temperature assumption be investigated
  • Current status of the EIR:
    • Analysis is still not complete after more than two years of study
    • More alternatives have been added, contrary to sound analysis practice (Initially 23 alternatives, then expanded to more than 50!)
    • Basic downstream water temperature history still hasn't been evaluated
    • EIR completion date is unknown...may not even occur in 2009
  • In the mean time......
    • SWRCB has declared a "303 (d) listing for temperature impairment" of the NFFR without public involvement
      • Even SWRCB's own technical staff challenged that action and WOULD NOT SUPPORT the declaration!
      • The consequence of this decision is that the final EIR alternative (s) will be mandated by SWRCB, not negotiated
    • The federal relicensing of the hydroelectric facilities has been in limbo now for several years, pending resolution of this issue
    • Inflation continues to reduce the value of some parts of the promised PG&E improvements in the impacted area ((a part of its relicensing agreement)
    • Delay and stonewalling have become standard procedures
      • SWRCB is probably hoping that the public will tire of the subject and simply go away


  1. Removal of cold water would cause severe damage to Lake Almanor
  2. SWRCB may want as much as 40% of Lake Almanor's COLDEST water for project 40 miles downstream
  3. The loss of cold water will kill fish and could create algae bloom
  4. Possible Butt Lake curtains will seriously degrade its fish habitat too
  5. Dredging for the therman curtain in Lake Almanor would desecrate the known ancient Maidu burial sites

               SAVE OUR COLD WATER!!

Save Lake Almanor Committee
P.O. Box 1356
Chester, CA 96020

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